The Skills and Education You Need for a Career in Automotive Engineering

For a lot of people, a career in automotive engineering is the ultimate dream; this may be true for you too. Working in automotive engineering means being actively involved in the design and development of cars, particularly the systems and mechanisms behind them.

It is an exciting time to be an automotive engineer; the industry is bustling with new innovations, big leaps, and new design languages just waiting to be implemented. Despite the many changes happening on the market, car manufacturers are expanding at a steady pace.

So, what skills and education do you need to build a career in automotive engineering? Becoming an automotive engineer is easier than you think, and by mastering these next few skills and completing the necessary education, you will be prepared for a bright career in this field.

A Degree in Engineering

There are engineering programs you can take to prepare yourself for a career in automotive engineering. You can begin by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering; this degree will open doors to the industry and get you started with your career in automotive engineering.

To really push your career forward, you can also invest in a graduate degree, particularly one in a relevant field. Pursuing a degree in automotive engineering, for instance, will help you move forward in your career faster than ever.

Thanks to the internet, you can now enroll in an automotive engineering online course while working in the car industry. With degrees like the Master of Science Electrical and Computer Engineering from Kettering University Online, you can also focus on specific aspects of the industry.

The right degree is still important in this industry. With a strong engineering background, it will be easier for you to penetrate the field and climb up the corporate ladder; even the top managers of car companies today have engineering backgrounds instead of management ones.

Become an Apprentice

A hands-on internship program is the next thing you want to add to your resume if you are pursuing a career in the automotive industry. The industry may be expanding at an incredible pace, but it is still very selective when it comes to recruiting new personnel.

If you are pursuing a degree in automotive engineering, you will have the opportunity to work in a car company as an intern or an apprentice. This is the opportunity you don’t want to miss. By working with experienced engineers – and directly in the field – you can learn a lot about the industry.

You can, for example, learn about the different technologies used in the development of new cars. You can be more intimate with the design and development processes as well. You also have the option to work in a car manufacturing line and be that much closer to the action.

Different parts of the automotive industry throw different challenges at you, and it is up to you as an engineer to decide which challenges you want to face – which specific field you want to focus on. If you love working with computers, for instance, you can become an autonomous vehicle specialist.

Master the Skills

Another reason to start your career in this industry with an engineering degree is because of the skills you can pick up along the way. As an automotive engineer, you have to have certain key skills to succeed. Those key skills are:

  • Math. Strong math skillsare required in this field, regardless of the specific part of the industry you want to focus on. Whether you want to work as a car designer or an expert in autonomous vehicles, you will need strong math skills to succeed.
  • Design. Design is a big part of the automotive industry too. A car needs to be as appealing visually as it is functional and durable. Only engineers with a good sense of design can find the right balance between these elements.
  • Physics. In some specific fields within the industry, physics become the must-have knowledge. If you are in engine development or body design, for example, you will be relying on physics for the most part of your work.
  • Technology. Of course, technology and the automotive industry are inseparable. Developments in one aspect always affect the other, so technology knowledge will guarantee a better career in automotive engineering.

Other soft skills are considered valuable. For starters, you need to have that knack for detail. With calculations and aesthetics, you cannot afford to miss important details, since they often affect the outcome of your work substantially.

The same can be said for analytical thinking. It is a soft skill that all engineers must possess, especially if you want to have a bright career in this field. You’ll be answering a lot of questions regarding the design, production, and use of vehicles, and you are expected to rely on data to answer them.

Computer skills are among the must-have skills as well. Everything is now done digitally, which is why you need to be comfortable around computers. Being familiar with computer simulations, 3D design and modeling, and other computer-related matters will help your career immensely.

Last but certainly not least, you need to have good communications skills. As an engineer, you are required to work together in teams. Knowing how to communicate ideas, respond to requests, and work together with fellow engineers is critical to your success in this field.

Getting Started

For most people, the chance to enter the automotive industry usually presents itself as an internship opportunity. If you do good enough as an intern or an apprentice, you will be asked to return to the automotive industry after your internship is over.

That said, the opportunities are endless. After completing your automotive engineering degree, you will find that finding dream jobs in car companies becomes a lot easier than you anticipated. Make sure you prepare yourself before deciding to apply for a job in automotive engineering to get a good start.

The rest is easy from this point. With the industry growing as rapidly as it is today, you will find plenty of opportunities to advance in your career as an automotive engineer.

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